Pedestrianise the Quays

The Cycling in Dublin blog started off a very interesting debate a few days ago, regarding the redesign of Dublin’s  quays to include a high quality cycle route. However, it’s my opinion that the ideas don’t go far enough. Instead of the addition of a cycle path, we need to pedestrianise the quays.

Anyone who’s ever visited Dublin’s city centre will recognise this view from Google Maps street view showing the quays bogged down in traffic:

Bachelors Walk, Dublin
Bachelors Walk, Dublin

Wouldn’t it be so much nicer, however, if the quays looked a bit more like this shot from the city centre of Copenhagen?:

Copenhagen street side cafes
Copenhagen street side cafes

At the moment the River Liffey, which has the potential to be a fantastic tourist and civil amenity serves little purpose than to be the central reservation of a motorway. The quays are currently a hostile environment for pedestrians and cyclists – and it’s all because of the traffic.

The two shopping areas centred around Henry Street on the north side and Dame/Grafton Street on the South Side are current separated by a retail wasteland. Many of the shops on the quays are sitting empty, and some of those that are filled are a bit low-rent. It’s just not a very nice environment to hang about, because of all the noise and pollution.

If the traffic were removed, the whole river-side area would overnight become prime real-estate. Pavement cafes and restaurants would spring up, and tourists would have a beautiful area to go walking. We would also join the two shopping areas into one, and as such have a much more coherent city centre.

Of course, I recognise that pedestrianising the quays would not be easy. There’s a significant amount of traffic to divert. and the route along the banks of the Liffey is a prime cross-city bus corridor. But it wouldn’t be impossible to route traffic elsewhere, and it might have the desirable affect of reducing the number of vehicles that go through the city centre.

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog

One thought on “Pedestrianise the Quays

  • 26 February, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Ive been thinking about that for years. The Quays are in an awful state, buses in particular turn then quays into a lethal highway cutting the city in half. I would love if we could relocate Busaras to Heuston and Pedestrianise both the north and south quays. If we did that it would breath new life and economic development onto the quays and give everyone a renewed connection to the river liffey.


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